“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Near Burkesville in Cumberland County, Kentucky — The American South (East South Central)

Skirmish at Norris Branch

The Great Raid


— July 2, 1863 —

Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, October 13, 2016
1. Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker
Inscription.  After the initial wave of Morgan's 1st Brigade crossed the Cumberland River, he sent about twenty men to reconnoiter west of Burkesville. The objective was to deflect the attention of the 3,000 Union soldiers camped at Marrowbone, seven miles west, from the river crossing being made by Morgan's 2nd Brigade.

The Confederate cavalrymen left the Courthouse Square in Burkesville and galloped out the Glasgow Road toward the Union camp. After engaging Union pickets, the scouts were joined by the 9th Tennessee Cavalry and supported by the 6th Kentucky Cavalry.

Here at Norris Branch, Morgan surprised the advance elements of a 300-man Union cavalry column with rifle and artillery fire. The Federals quickly turned their mounts and headed back down the road. With a whoop, the Rebels tore after the bluecoats.

The ensuing route raised a cloud of dust, preventing the Southerners from seeing that Union regiment had formed in the line of battle. One of Quirk's scouts spotted the enemy and grabbed the reins of General Morgan's horse, stopping the charge. The Yanks fired a volley at short range, so surprising Maj. William P. Elliott
Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, October 13, 2016
2. Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker
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that he was temporarily unhorsed. In the exchange of fire, two Confederates were mortally wounded and two others slightly wounded. Captain Tom Quirk received a severe wound to his left wrist, which broke his arm. Federal losses were 5 killed and 15 wounded.

"When the enemy realized the smallness of the force that was chasing them, they halted in a strong position and showed fight;but out General...was too shrewd for them.

"Quickly detaching a single scout around to their left flank secretly, with orders to fire his gun (rifle) and navies (pistols) in rapid succession into their line. ...Back they flew again, using their spurs...

"Morgan on his horse, Glencoe, was riding behind the scouts, hat in hand, cheering the boys with "Charge them, boys; charge them!"" Kelion Peddicord

This skirmish cost Morgan his chief scout. Tom Quirk's wound forced him to return to Tennessee just as the Great Raid was beginning. Two days later, at Tebbs Bend, the Confederates paid a great price for poorly scouting a strong Union position.
Erected by Kentucky Heartland Civil War Trails Commission.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: War, US Civil. In addition, it is included in the John Hunt Morgan Heritage Trail in Kentucky series list. A significant historical date for this entry is July 2, 1863.
Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse, October 13, 2016
3. Skirmish at Norris Branch Marker
36° 48.002′ N, 85° 25.096′ W. Marker is near Burkesville, Kentucky, in Cumberland County. Marker is on Norris Branch Road, 0.1 miles north of Glasgow Road (Kentucky Route 90), on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Burkesville KY 42717, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Smith Pharmacy (approx. 2.7 miles away); Raiders Entered Here (approx. 2.7 miles away); Lincoln's Father Here (approx. 2.7 miles away); Cumberland County (approx. 2.7 miles away); Morgan On To Ohio (approx. 2.7 miles away); Burkesville Ferry (approx. 3.1 miles away); Confederate Crossings at Neeley's Ferry (approx. 4½ miles away); Civil War Camp at Marrowbone (approx. 5.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Burkesville.
Additional commentary.
1. Norris Branch Question
My ancestors lived in Cumberland County Kentucky. Do you know why this is called Norris Branch? Thank you.

Editor: Many Civil War battles and skirmishes were named after local features and towns. Small streams are often called branches as they branch off a larger river or creek. More than likely this is why this skirmish was named the Norris Branch Skirmish. After many years the stream may have dried up. There is a Norris Branch (shown at GPS coordinates 36.859196, -85.553067) less
Captain Tom Quirk CSA image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse
4. Captain Tom Quirk CSA
than 10 miles NNW of the marker and appears to branch off the Ferris Fork Creek. As to the name "Norris Branch" it may have been named by a local settler named "Norris". Possibly the Metcalfe County Historical Society can provide more about Norris Branch.
    — Submitted January 14, 2022, by William D Norris of Lincoln, Nebraska.
Kelion Peddicord image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tom Bosse
5. Kelion Peddicord
Credits. This page was last revised on January 19, 2022. It was originally submitted on October 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 525 times since then and 7 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5. submitted on October 18, 2016, by Tom Bosse of Jefferson City, Tennessee. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Feb. 4, 2023